I never thought I’d be writing those words in February 2014. I had some business to do in a town close to here and decided to go for a stroll to get some lunch. I was walking down this street when I spotted it – a record shop! Gosh, they faded from view fairly fast, didn’t they?
It used to be a weekly event for me to go visit a record shop and pick up something but I have to admit, I buy just about all my music online these days. Anyway, how could I not go in and have a look. The layout and the feel was familiar but by the same token it was a bit like getting up on a bicycle after many years of taking the bus! There was a good selection to look through and maybe it’s a sign that you’re growing older when you realise you recognise less than half of the artists displayed.
I was losing interest fast when I noticed a section up the back dedicated to vinyl. I must say it’s a lot nicer flicking through album sleeves than CD covers and with my heart beating a little bit faster I proceeded to look though some second-hand albums – and artists I did know well. I must have had 70/80% of the albums there back home in my own collection – Tapestry by Carole King, Into The Fire by Bryan Adams, Hot August Night by Neil Diamond…and Dancehall Sweethearts by Horslips. Right behind it was another album and seeing that one really got me pumped because I had it back in the day but somehow it disappeared (in other words some bastid stole it when I was away on tour).
I took the album to the check-out and asked the guy what their return policy was (in the event that it skipped or whatever). He said it was no problem to bring it back if it didn’t play right. Well, it’s not like he has to worry any more about people bringing it home and taping it, right!!
I asked him why this album in question was more expensive that the other ones and he replied that it was more special. I asked him how did he know that and he answered – “I just know!” OK, hard to argue with that I suppose!
When I got back home I thought I’ll make myself a nice cup of coffee and put on my ‘new’ album. I still play my ‘records’ but it’s been a while since I bought one in a shop like this so it was quite exciting to take it out and gently put it on the turntable.
Oh man, the joy of hearing those little crackles before the music kicks in…heaven! I turned it up and dived right back into the past for the next 20 minutes or so (you could only have 22 minutes each side for technical reasons). Then I had to GET UP and turn it over to side 2 and again we had that little snap, crackle and pop as the needle touched the vinyl and we were off to the races again with more glorious vinyl sounds.
I know there are those who swear that vinyl has a warmer sound than digital music and I’m not sure my ears are sensitive enough to hear the difference but whatever it was it sure sounded good to me. I heard things on the record that I hadn’t heard before but we only had a cheap mono record player when I was younger, so that may have been the reason. Maybe it was the fact that I had to get up and turn it over and that kept me involved or maybe it was the fact that I could sit down with something tangible in my hand – an LP cover with lyrics that you could actually read without the help of a Hubble-type telescope. Whatever it was, it sure worked and I must say it’s one of the most enjoyable 40+ minutes I’ve spent in a good while.
So there you have it – one man’s encounter with a vinyl record and the ensuing pleasure derived from it. I hope you enjoyed this little tale as much as I enjoyed listening to that record.
Oh, I nearly forgot to mention what record it was…Book of Invasions from Horslips!!
Note: the record shop guy said he got all his vinyl from one source and I got the impression from him that it was a good/reliable source. The LP has “demonstration copy – not for sale on it”, which back in the day meant it was sent out by the record company to either press or radio people. There was also a written biography printed on CBS paper inside the record sleeve, which was a funny little extra to get with it.
By the way, the record is in pristine condition and I paid €10.00 for it. Not a bad day’s shopping at all.